Smith, A. 2007. The 100 – Mile Diet A Year of Local Eating pg. 1-133. Random House Canada Ltd. Toronto.
This book shows the view of someone who eats nothing but local food (within a 100 mile radius of home) for 1 year in South West B.C. (Vancouver). Not only does this book show what it is like to eat nothing but local food for 1 year, but it also discusses many of the benefits, as well as the morals that drive the authors to complete this challenge. So far, I have mostly enjoyed this book. The story is told in such a way, that it creates interest in the material and encourages the reader to think about things that we have never pondered. This book shows how challenging it can be to acquire local food in an area dominated by corporations that ship their product thousands of miles from farms to market.
At first, I found it somewhat difficult to understand the view of the authors, as I grew up on a ranch in the middle of the sticks for 18 years of my life. Living off the land is hard work, but it is very rewarding. I guess I have never thought about it before but, knowing exactly where your food and drink comes from, creates a strong feeling of security, knowing exactly what was used to grow, harvest, collect, and kill what you are consuming to ensure your own survival.
Living in the middle of a city like Vancouver, this is impossible to do for the authors, so they must intentionally seek sources and make sure that what they are buying is local. This adds stress to an already very stressful and busy world. I am all for cutting down on the use of fossil fuels to ship product from source to the dinner table, but it seems strange to me that these authors take up this challenge, and live in the middle of Vancouver of all places. Maybe it’s to display that it really isn’t that hard for someone living in those types of areas, to find food that isn’t from far away, and that this type of challenge can be met even if you don’t have your own personal resources, other than a small community garden.
While reading, I noticed that the authors were worried about salt: “No salt? It was only the staple seasoning of the entire world. I could taste it in the air, but couldn’t buy it in a box. We would have to ration the two-pound bag of Oregon sea salt that was already in our cupboard. We dubbed it “sinner’s salt”.” (pg. 25). The authors live on the coast. Isn’t it easy enough to make salt from ocean water? Of course I don’t know how easy it is to make polution free salt, especially in the Vancouver area.
The chapter that I am currently reading (September, pg.129) Is very sad for me to read as I am an avid fly and centerpin fisherman. It seems that our waters that allow all kinds of life to flourish, are constantly being pumped full of all kinds of nasty things. Overfishing and other human activity has led to a serious decline in local steelhead trout (and other fish) populations, over the years in the South Thompson River. These waters used to be the home of world-class fishing in places like Spences Bridge, and now the issue has gone so far that fishing in the South Thompson is closed from Nov. 1st to May 31st to allow the winter run to pass through unharmed. This is a very good thing to me, as it terrifies me to be threatened with the loss of such a beautiful creature in our local area.
Overall the book conveyed clearly that with a bit of effort, it is possible to eat locally, which can bring you closer to your food. It shows that this can be accomplished even in an urban area with few immediate resources at hand. Growing up on a ranch, I took it for granted because not only did my family enjoy living self sufficiently, but we were forced to, due to living in an isolated area.